When someone harms us deeply, we may find the resources to forgive them in our mind, but true soul-forgiveness is difficult. According to the severity of another person’s harmful actions, we may carry the burden of non-forgiveness most of our adult lives.
As long as old feelings surface, old buttons can be pushed and we are terrified to face our past, we are fooling ourselves that we have forgiven our perpetrator.
Denial and Repression
In the case of childhood abuse, denial and repression act a shield we put around ourselves to defend against the pain. Once we commit to soul-forgiveness, the first step to letting go of denial and repression is anger.
Anger does not benefit us or our loved ones. It is vital to understand that we are at choice to continue on our self-destructive path, or let go of the pain and anger through soul-forgiveness.
Soul-Forgiveness is Good for YOU
I had attended Adult Children of Alcoholics for five years when I began working with a psychic mentor. In a flash, his wisdom impacted me more than all the step-group work.
“Bonnie, soul-forgiveness is good for YOU. Forgive yourself for being an innocent child who was the victim of her abuser. You did not choose an abusive parent. You couldn’t have done anything different to change her actions.”
When you are ready – and only when you are ready – his words will penetrate your soul and give you strength to dig into your deepest and truest self…to find the courage to forgive your perpetrator on a soul level.
Until that time, let your personal journal serve as a vehicle to help absorb your pain and anger.
Assignment – Working toward Soul-Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a many-layered process.
Write these words on a clean page of your personal journal: “I am ready to entertain the possibility of true soul-forgiveness of ________________.”
Now, I’ll list several questions for you to answer in your journal. Don’t worry if healing words don’t rush out of your sub-consciousness immediately. Remember that because of denial and repression, we put up that invisible wall, in an effort to protect ourselves.
Am I ready to start the process of self-forgiveness? Keep in mind that it’s more comfortable to hold onto the pain we know than to seek the peace we need.
Do I really believe that I deserve a whole, free and peaceful life? Once you can release the imaginary hold that your abuser still has on you, you will free up space for forgiveness. It’s like a bad marriage, the abuser lives in your head and you are the only one who can “divorce” him/her.
Can I constructively release my anger towards the abuser?
In step-group, we held an imaginary conversation with our perpetrators. To emulate the exercise, set up two chairs facing each other. Visualize your abuser sitting across from you. Say the things you wish you could have said to him/her. Don’t worry about right or wrong. Whatever you say is the perfect thing and you are saying it at the perfect time. Repeat this exercise as often as necessary to dissipate your anger.
How do I begin forgiving myself?
You were an innocent, vulnerable child. You did no wrong. It was impossible to live up to the abuser’s unrealistic expectations. You were not to blame. You no longer need to assume guilt for something you did not do.
When a childhood memory of the perpetrator pops into your consciousness, divert your thought to a pleasant activity. Read an inspiring book, watch a funny movie, call a friend and meet for lunch. If the memory is insistent, say “STOP I refuse to think about you.” (Again in step-group we labeled bad memories, “letting the perpetrator live rent-free in our heads”.)
Long Journey to Soul-Forgiveness
Make no mistake the journey to soul-forgiveness of our abusers is a long and arduous one. It took probably 10,000 mental hours and possibly equal knee-time before taking my power back.
Until you find the strength and courage to truly forgive the person who harmed you deeply, try to cherish yourself. Every morning when you wake up, look into the mirror and affirm, “I love myself. I am worthy of all the love I send and receive.”
I make no claim the journal exercises will serve to completely heal your little broken psyche. I do maintain they will help you correctly start your journey from victim to victorious.
You must commit to walk the path and take your power back. When that fine day arrives that you can complete the soul-forgiveness of your perpetrator, you will feel a warmth and peace like no other.
My name is Bonnie and I was the abused child of an alcoholic. Today, I am a whole, free and peaceful woman.
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